Computer Laboratory

Obituaries

Robin Milner

Robin Milner, FRS FRSE
Professor Emeritus of Computer Science

It is with great sadness that we note the death of Robin Milner.

Robin worked at the Computer Laboratory in Cambridge from 1995 onwards, serving as Head of the Laboratory 1996–1999. Before that, he worked at the University of Edinburgh 1973–1994, where he was founding Director of the Laboratory for Foundations of Computer Science (LFCS). He was awarded the Turing Award in 1991.

Robin played a leading role in the development of many areas of Computer Science, focussing especially on its mathematical foundations but always with a sharp eye on practice. His intellectual legacy includes:

  • machine-assisted proof construction with the LCF approach, underpinning the HOL and Isabelle/HOL provers;
  • the design and formal definition of programming languages, especially of Standard ML, including work on type safety, type inference and module systems;
  • models of concurrent computation, particularly with the CCS and Pi-Calculus process calculi and their theories of compositional reasoning; and
  • the bigraph model of mobile informatic processes with its applications to bioinformatics and pervasive computing.

These provide the basis and tools for a great deal of current research, by many people worldwide.

Always an inspirational teacher and colleague, and a warm-hearted man, he will be greatly missed.


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